Citizen Verdict

DVD Released (Y/M/D): 2005-11-15

Genre: Drama

Director: Philippe Martinez

Stars: Armand Assante, Jerry Springer, Dorette Potgieter, Raffaello Degruttola, Gideon Emery, Justine Mitchell, Roy Scheider, Clive Scott, Lynn Blades, Andre Jacobs, Langley Kirkwood, Danny Keogh, Nicole Sherwin

MPAA Rating: R

Synopsis: MARTY ROCKMAN (Jerry Springer), the notorious producer of the hit reality-tv show "So Sue Me", has a brand new concept: 'CITIZEN VERDICT'. Each week a real criminal case will be tried before the American people, but this time they're also the jury - and if the defendant is voted guilty in a death penalty case, Rockman will televise the execution. An escalation in violent crime and terrorism has hit the state of Florida hard. GOVERNOR TYLER (Roy Scheider), desperate to be seen as a tough-on-crime Republican leader in the upcoming presidential race, decides to give Rockman his chance and "Citizen Verdict" goes into production in Tampa. SAM PATTERSON (Armand Assante) is a well-respected liberal law professor trying to survive an expensive divorce when Rockman offers him a huge signing bonus to become the show's defense attorney. Convincing himself that the show has a valid purpose, Sam joins the team along with JESSICA LANDERS, the beautiful and brilliant prosecuting attorney, and CARLENE OSWAY, an ambitious law student who Sam hires as his assistant. Now all Rockman needs is the first case for the viewing public to judge... Selected by phone-in vote, Sam's first client is RICKY CARR: accused of the rape and murder of popular celebrity-chef Dolly Hamilton, the case is a surefire ratings winner. But when Sam starts to investigate, he finds evidence that Ricky may be innocent of murder. Sam presents his case, alleging that Ricky and Dolly were lovers - her death a tragic accident - but this strategy is at the expense of Dolly's reputation. Then, at the last minute, new video evidence is 'discovered' - and proves beyond a doubt that Ricky is guilty. The public votes accordingly and then watches in shock as Ricky's execution is carried out before them... Rockman has manipulated the entire process for ratings - the false witnesses against Dolly's character, the concealment of the video footage...After all, Ricky is guilty anyway - what difference does it make? Sam sets out to take Rockman down - but who can he trust? A fast-paced thriller interwoven with real public reaction, CITIZEN VERDICT is a powerful and unique film that blurs the distinction between fact and fiction, raising questions about the nature of TV voyeurism, reality versus reality-tv, and even the death penalty itself.     Source: Aquarius Films

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